UC Santa Barbara top-level subdomain names are the electronic addresses used to find specific website destinations and other electronic campus services directly under the ucsb.edu domain. Internal subdomains are represented as subdomain.ucsb.edu — for example, engineering.ucsb.edu, socialsciences.ucsb.edu, music.ucsb.edu, etc. Like the names of publications and programs, subdomain names can be an important part of a unit’s identity and public outreach efforts and, therefore, have an impact on how UC Santa Barbara as a whole is perceived.

Which campus entities should request a UCSB top-level subdomain?

  • An official UC Santa Barbara school, division, department, institute, or other campus-level organizational unit. 
  • An officially recognized campus or University level research center/unit as listed on the Office of Research web page. (Note: The domain names for school centers fall within the domain of the host school and do not meet the criteria for top-level subdomain status.)
  • A campus-wide program or service that does not belong within an existing UC Santa Barbara top-level subdomain, or is most appropriately represented as a campus-wide activity or service based upon endorsement of this status from multiple campus entities collaboratively sponsoring the program or service.
    • Ex: timekeeping.ucsb.edu, news.ucsb.edu, webguide.ucsb.edu

Criteria for top-level subdomain assignment

If the entity requesting the top-level subdomain meets one of the above classifications, and if the subdomain name requested is a clear and unmistakable representation of the official campus entity name, then it will be authorized and assigned to the requesting entity.

The following requests are likely to be denied:

  • A name that is already in use, or extremely similar to one that is already in use.
    • Ex: connections.ucsb.edu is too close to connect.ucsb.edu
  • A name representing an individual
    • Ex: johndoe.ucsb.edu
  • A name representing a service that is meaningful only internally to a specific unit
    • Ex: mydepartmentsevent.ucsb.edu
  • A name that will be short-lived
    • Ex: 2019staffbreakfast.ucsb.edu
  • A name that is too general or can be tied to more than one area of campus
    • Ex: excellence.ucsb.edu
  • Two subdomain names for one web property. In order to avoid domain name proliferation or confusion, only one form is allowed.
    • Ex: engineering.ucsb.edu or collegeofengineering.ucsb.edu, but not both
  • A name that is intended to work around typographical errors made in URLs that appear in print materials or other display formats

Considerations for Choosing a Good Top-Level Subdomain Name

The information below is intended to help you choose good top-level subdomain names that will be intuitive for your visitors, align with institutional goals, be consistent with the university’s identity and branding, and be meaningful and sustainable over time.


Consider if an option within an existing UCSB top-level subdomain is appropriate. 

For example, if a name will be subject to frequent changes, clear and meaningful only within a department or with a department qualifier, or is clearly associated with a particular campus entity: 

  • researchgroup.dept.ucsb.edu 
  • dept.ucsb.edu/program-name 

Such options are subject to local policy set by the campus entity. 




Take into account relative size, scope and persistence of the entity

A fund-raising event, an institute and a regular academic department may share a common focus. But the keyword to describe that focus – “humanities” or “chemistry” for example – would typically be reserved for the academic division/department. Priority will be given to: 

  • Academic programs 
  • Major campus-wide initiatives
    • Ex: Give Day
  • Campus-wide programs or services used by many people from many different organizations either within or outside the university
    • Ex: campuscalendar.ucsb.edu
  • Inter-departmental, inter-disciplinary and/or multi-institution collaborations 


Aim for clarity and memorability

Remember that many users will “guess” a URL. So while brevity is important, so are clarity and memorability. For example, is it “Department of History” or “History Department”? What’s more important is that the key phrase in this instance is simply “history” (history.ucsb.edu). Other examples: 

  • engineering.ucsb.edu (instead of coe.ucsb.edu) 
  • education.ucsb.edu (instead of ggse.ucsb.edu) 
  • alumni.ucsb.edu (instead of alumniaffairs.ucsb.edu)


Abbreviate under select circumstances only

An abbreviation (or an acronym) may be harder for outsiders to “guess,” but it’s the best choice under the circumstances listed below.

  • The abbreviation or acronym is more commonly used than the full name.
    • Ex: kitp.ucsb.edu for Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • The abbreviation avoids a word that’s difficult to spell: 
    • Ex: www.nri.ucsb.edu for Neuroscience Research Institute
  • The abbreviation takes the place of three or more key words: eemb.ucsb.edu for Ecology, Evolution, and Marine Biology–because leaving out any of the three words would result in an ambiguous name.


Reflect the nature or purpose of the website

If the proposed name is not the name of a campus entity, it should not be easily confused with one and it’s purpose should be fairly intuitive.

  • Ex: sustainability.ucsb.edu


Consider the use of compound words when one word alone may not be enough 

In most cases, two words can be run together without obscuring their meaning. Examples: 

  • theaterdance.ucsb.edu
  • graddiv.ucsb.edu

Ready to request a subdomain?